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  • January 23, 2017

    Captions in Web Video – A Quick Guide to maximise your message

    Browsing online we’re seeing more and more videos showing with captions – what’s this all about?

     

    This is due to the rise of mobile video which is growing massively, recent research shows mobile video views grew 6x faster than desktop views in 2015. (Invodo, 2016)

     

    One of the main problems for marketers is that mobile users may not always have the sound turned on – or want to turn it on. So although the visual message may come across – crucially half of the video could be missing.

     

    So how do you get your message across if your video is voiceover or interview-based? This is the same issue, whether filmed or animated video production.

     

    Captions are a great way of letting people preview the video content, and letting them decide to watch with the volume turned on. Or letting them take on board the full message when the volume isn’t an option.

    Making the assumption people will always listen from the start is a mistake.

     

    However, sometimes you may not want or need captions, and it’s not always straightforward.

     

    3 Main Types of Captions

     

    Animated Captions – inbuilt into the video that just show highlights and keywords

    Open Captions – like subtitles but can’t be turned on and off – they’re embedded within the video

    Closed Captions – abilities to turn the subtitles on and off, set by the video player.

     

    Social Video

     

    If your marketing is very social media-based, for example, Facebook adverts, (and who would blame you!) 100 million hours of video per day are watched on Facebook. (Tech Crunch, 2016) There can be a lot of silent video playback, so you’ll want to incorporate full sub captions, or make your visuals very self-explanatory. The latter is only really possible with animation or motion graphics based videos. 

     

    And so now more often on Facebook and youtube, we do see full sub captions are being used. Which means people can still get the content, but without having to turn the sound up –  it’s a great user-focused approach.

     

    For those heavily invested in social video, Open captions are a great option, as it gives you more flexibility with the design than video player generated closed captions.

     

    This means your video will never show without captions by mistake, the full message will always get across.  

    Example of Open Captions from AJ+

    Obviously they still need to be clear, so you can’t be crazy with font choice or colour, but you can be sure they don’t overlap with any visuals, the font is suitable, and you have full control of the process.

     

    If you’re still dabbling with social video production – then Closed Caption system is a great way to start and increase engagement.

     

    Website video

    For your website, you may not need full subcaptions. If your service or product is heavily B2B – you may still have a good majority of desktop users, who have access to speakers or headphones more easily.

     

    So for a website video or a video just for presentations, you may find that a few key highlight messages, animated nicely do the trick along with the voiceover.

    The best to way to find out if your visitors are coming by mobile, tablet or desktop, is to check your wenbsite analytics for the screen size and device used most frequently. You can also check the time on page – to see if you’re putting off mobile users with your site.

    There are a few downfalls

     

    It can take a bit of effort and knowledge required to produce the right files for Closed Captions – it requires generating an SRT (or similar)  file, which is basically a text file of the script that is formatted so that each line is associated with a time code – so if you’re not familiar it can be a little daunting and time consuming.

     

    Facebook and Youtube now offer automatically generated captions – woohoo! But sometimes what it hears is incorrect, so this is not a foolproof method. Especially when you’ve spent time and money producing a video to generate sales (imagine loads of a typos in a proposal!).  

    Here’s a quick example where I have put Youtube Closed Captions on a preexisting video. You can see the client didn’t plan to have this, as the captions over overlap the animated text somewhat. And Youtube initially did quite a bad job of guessing the captions! So, it’s not always straightforward.

    If you’re not up for a DIY approach, You can hire companies to easily make a perfect transcript if you’re getting errors, then upload that SRT file to youtube or facebook.

     

    If you choose to have animated captions that are ever present and part of the video design – then it’s crucial they are timed well for those who are listening and match the voiceover – as hearing and seeing them as different messages will create a little confusion.

     

    This seems obvious, but marketers are still doing this! It’s so difficult to take one message fully on board if you’re hearing another.

    Getting started

     

    So to get started, first look at your analytics and your marketing efforts.  Is your audience website and desktop based or do you drive large amounts of traffic through social media and mobile?

     

    After you have a clear idea of your own users you can decide what level of captions to use.

     

    It’s good to know this info at the beginning of a video project, so that nothing is overlapping that area of the screen, or that the video producer can add animated highlight captions which capture the message in an elegant way.

     

    If you already have videos online on youtube or facebook – see if the automatically generated captions work for you – and there you go, you’ve already increased watching potential!

     

    In the meantime – check out our newly updated portofolio, and see a wide range of web videos with animated captions!

  • July 28, 2016

    New Showreel Release

    We’ve been so extremely busy this year so far, that it really called for a new Showreel to reflect our latest work. It’s amazing how quickly our most recent portfolio has built up in just a few months.

    We’ve been lucky to work with a range of fantastic creative agencies around the world, to produce soo many different kinds of video. Thank you everyone!

    Without further ado – here it is!

     

  • February 3, 2016

    10 Inspirational Business TED Talks for 2016

    TED talks are enjoyed by millions world wide. They really capture our spirit of human interest and the invention new ideas.

    Here are a few of my favourite TED talks on the business of business. I’ve picked these videos to cover a fairly wide range of topics and discussion points; from marketing, motivation, being creative in business, to productivity and leadership. As I believe as a business person, you should have a grasp on all these concepts – even if it’s not strictly your department.

    Why read yet another long blog post, when you can watch a short video with a truly motivational speaker and feel really inspired and alter your perspective. So while you have a few moments spare, watch a few of these carefully curated and thought provoking business TED talks – and let me know which ones stimulate you!

    1. Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread

    2. Margaret Gould Stewart: How giant websites design for you (and a billion others, too)

    3. Ricardo Semler: How to run a company with (almost) no rules

     

    4. Roselinde Torres: What it takes to be a great leader

     

    5. Josh Luber: The secret sneaker market — and why it matters

    6. Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation

    7. Bill Gross: The single biggest reason why startups succeed

    8. Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders

    9. Seth Godin: The tribes we lead

    10. Yves Morieux: As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify

     

    Although it can be said that they simplify concepts too much for entertaining bite-size viewing, sometimes you just need that little boost and a break to help refresh and make you think little differently.

    Let me know your favourite Business TED Talks! I’d love to watch.

     

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  • October 26, 2015

    7 Ways to Film a Testimonial Video

    7 Ways to Film a Testimonial Video Production

    Testimonial videos run the risk of being dull and too lengthly.

    It’s too easy to have a static camera, capturing one shot – of a static interviewee.

    Resulting in a lifeless video that no one really wants to watch.

    To tackle this issue, here’s a selection of different ways to spice up your testimonial videos:

    Film on the go

    If you film someone while they’re walking, it has a very dynamic effect and can bring great energy to a video.

    Filming on the go also steers well away from from the stagnant, someone sitting on a chair in a small office, looking bored kind of video production – that we’ve all seen a million times.

    Static shots can be done well, but you see the same thing all the time – so why not try something new!

    Film with multi-camera

    Using 2 cameras or more for your video shoot is becoming more and more common and for a great reason!

    Editing seamlessly between two different shots gives a much more interesting feel to the video – especially if they are quite contrasting.

    For example, a wide shot that shows the world behind them – giving more context to the interview, then perhaps a close on the face or the hands (if they move them a lot) the final video uses a mixture of both these angles.

    It also has another benefit, the video editor can easily remove sections that don’t sound as good. For example, if the interviewee rambles a little bit, or has a long pause – cutting this out and switching the new shot keeps the overall flow of the video very smooth.

    Green screen

    Why not try standing your customer in front of a green screen whilst filming. This is means that instead of a natural environment, you can add graphics behind.

    This is great if you want to have a more ‘technological’ feeling approach, and want to include lots of support from charts or data.

    Or with green screen video, you can also include lots of captioning, which helps to reinforce their statements.

    Film in their environment

    If you film your customer at their offices or workplace – it’ll help them feel more at home, as they’re in their own surroundings. Which can make their testimonial sound better, as they’re not as nervous.

    This is especially good, if their office or shop environment is quite typical of your customers, as it’ll be even more relatable to watch for the audience.

    7 Ways to Film a Testimonial Video

    Film at your premises

    Filming the interview at your places of work can work out really nicely. But really only this if this is a typical scenario – ie customers often visit your work.

    Filming there can show the interaction between you and your customer, and helps the viewer to imagine themselves in this harmonious working relationship.

    Film Lots of B Roll

    If the person on camera is a bit shy, then B roll is your best friend. B Roll is simply footage that appears over the top of the person talking.

    So you continue to hear the voice – but instead of seeing their face the whole time, you cut to shots of them working, them interacting with colleagues, etc.

    Usually, these are related shots like the person working or carrying out an action that’s relevant to what they are saying.

    B roll footage is really helpful for putting the whole interview into context and bringing you into their world.

    dcinex - Compilation Video06

    Film a few people

    If you film 3-4 people and have a video that includes a combination of all – it creates excitement.

    And it also gives the impression that everyone is already on board! So if you have several happy customers – you can film individual testimonials, then make a combination video.

    Above all – try and keep testimonial video shooting natural and unrehearsed!

    Obviously, you want positive, genuine statements, delivered as best as possible, but rehearsing can come across false and a bit stifled.

    Hopefully, you can use one or more of these tips in your next Testimonial Video Production – click to read about our video production services

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  • October 15, 2015

    10 Video Campaigns from 2015 That Will Inspire Your Marketing

    John Lewis

    John Lewis Home Insurance Advert 2015 – Tiny Dancer

    A very interesting way of selling insurance – hardly focuses on the service at all. She is so cute!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gqPM_GT8Qw

    RightsInfo

    Human Rights Explained In One Beautiful Animation

    A brand new educational advert, using colour and a hand made style to show the infomation clearly.

    Dolce & Gabbana

    Summer 2015 Advertising Campaign

    Great use of music to build suspense. And great lighting!

    Trainline

    I am train – Trainline TV Advert 2015

    Great use of voiceover and calm music in combination with the busy timelapse sequences.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvuOyGYWk7s

    Campari

    Gruppo Campari Corporate Video 2015 – English

    For a group corporate video (which can often be very dry!) this is really interesting, with lots of post production and mixed editing and graphics.

    Lloyds Bank

    250 Year Anniversary Advert – Lloyds Bank

    Another interesting take on a corporate video for a company with a long history. Amazing costumes and sets!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6eZ3WQCjhA

    Ad Council

    Love Has No Labels | Diversity & Inclusion | Ad Council

    A lovely video to make us challenge our automatic assumptions about love and relationships. Heartwarming but also educational.

    Google

    Introducing the new Google Wallet

    Beautiful simple animation. The style really lends itself to the simplicity of the service they’re promoting.

    Duolingo

    Duolingo for Schools: A Real Teacher Testimonial

    Really heartfelt testimonials from teachers, people who you trust and respect the most.

     

    In a Nutshell – Kurzgesagt

    The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained

    It’s amazing how you can explain the complex situations so easily with animation. This is very informative and well made.

     

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  • October 6, 2015

    Why Post Production Matters

    Why Post Production in Video Matters

    Outside of the world of video production (which is indeed a very nerdy world!) you don’t hear about the term’ Post Production’ very often.
    But in fact, it’s a vital part of video making – and is one of the most noticeable aspects for the end-user, which in most cases is a potential customer.

    As a potential video buyer, post-production is something you need to be aware of when specifying a production company to make a video for your business.
    Post Production is all the final touches – it’s the fine-tune editing, the colourising and comesticising, captioning, music, sound effects and animated graphics.

    A final video can be ‘ok’ with limited post-production, maybe just a few quickly done captions – it’ll gain some acceptance. But will it achieve a good ROI? Will it wow people who watch it? Will it make your company look impressive?

    If you see any professionally made video (not just your friend’s homemade job), it should include a number of these polished features – and the video will be much better for it!

    Here are a few quick visual examples from a recent video to show you the impact post-production makes.

    In most cases, the original HD footage is fine – it’s not awful. But the added colour, graphics, light and captions bring it to life:

    The Importance of Post Production in Video

    The Importance of Post Production in Video

    The Importance of Post Production in Video

    And for a bit of fun, here is the full impact and potential of full post-production and visual effects on a massive scale!

     

    Next time you’re thinking about a promotional video for your company, take a look at the post-production quality of the video samples offered.

    Do they make any real effort after filming and basic editing? Or is the footage not coloured balanced well and generally not thought about?

    Could there be more additional graphics to support the most powerful statements and aid memory?

    To see examples of Post Production in corporate video – head to our video production page.

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  • September 22, 2015

    Getting your Facebook Video Right

    Getting your Facebook Video Right

    More than ever, Facebook are pushing Video advertising for business. And it’s working! In a recent blog post they stated “Since June 2014, Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day. So there’s definitely an audience.

    Here are some tips to help you gain more facebook video views and a higher retention.

    Silent Playback

    As facebook videos now autoplay in newsfeed with no sound – it’s imperative that the video needs to show the message well when on silent.

    This means that visually it needs to have high impact – it needs to stand out on a screen that may have the brightness turned down. So a bold opening to the video will catch their attention as users scroll down the page.

    Captions

    With more videos being played on silent, the need for captions is increasing if you want the viewer to get the whole message.

    Some news sites add subtitles for the entire speech – which can work well. But for most videos this amount of detail is not entirely necessary.

    In general, it’s good to keep them quite big and very legible. Here’s a great example from AJ+

    The captions are nicely designed – using bold and colour to emphasize important words, but it’s still clear and the caption doesn’t take up too much of the screen. All in all it’s well balanced and well designed.

    Getting your Facebook Video Right - Captions

    Video Length

    According to the latest studies – for higher engagement, it’s recommended to keep your facebook video about 1 minute or under.

    Up to 2 minutes is ok – but any longer than that and users will not make it to the end of the video. You don’t want your all important final message to be missed – so keep it concise.

    Featured Video

    If you’re proud of the video, add it video as a featured video on your account – for maximum exposure.
    When you upload a video you have the opportunity to add it as a ‘Featured Video” Do this!

    This will give the video full prominence, as it will always appear on the left hand side of your Facebook Page in the About section. It’s very easy to turn it on and off if you want to replace it in the future.

    Getting your Facebook Video Right - Featured Video

    Custom Thumbnail

    If the default thumbnail option is a bit bland when you upload the video (as it usually takes a random image from the video) – you now have the opportunity to upload a custom image.

    This can be better designed as a image, and give viewers a real reason to watch. Sometimes the default thumbnail is good enough, but it’s worth reviewing – think to yourself, does this make me want to press play?

    Call to Action

    Always include a call to action. This is a button that will show at the end of the video play, that invites the the viewer to go to your website.

    It means users can take further action if they like what they’ve seen. There are a few options, such as Shop Now, Sign Up etc – so you may as well take advantage.

    Getting your Facebook Video Right - Call to Action

    Advertising

    Once you’ve uploaded your video – the chances are it’s a big occasion, and you want it to be seen by as many people as possible.

    So it’s worth spending a few pounds on ‘Boosting’ the post. This kind of advertising is a quick and easy way to get as many people as possible to see your video.

    You can choose just to spend £5 (to try it out) and get some good traffic to your page – or if you’re really confident the sky’s the limit!

    You can also choose whether you want to target your existing facebook fans or new ones.
    For something like this, I would recommend targeting existing fans first, and if it goes well maybe try a second campaign where you ‘Boost’ the post to people you target audience and location.

    Summary

    Use strong visuals
    Clear and bold captions for maximum readability
    Keep it short
    Design a custom thumbnail if needed
    Make is your ‘Featured Video’
    Include a Call to Action to bring traffic to your website
    Consider spending a little on advertising

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  • August 30, 2015

    Why Is it Worth Having a Video for Your Local Business

    For a local business – I understand a video production may seem like a big expense – and a bit daunting to go about if we’re honest. This is especially the case if your marketing is usually low key, such as a bit of local newspaper advertising – or you don’t advertise at all.

    But with any local business, competition can be quite fierce.

    And for a potential customer, on the surface, you may look quite similar to your competitors…

    unless the person enquiring makes the effort to come and actually visit you – which is when of course they see your value proposition and USPs.

    But you need to catch your potential visitors even before they plan a visit to your premises. How do you get more visits or more enquiry emails from potential customers?

    And how do you get more customers, who have already part made up their minds, by the time they’re talking to you?

    A video on your website gives you an instant edge and style.

    – for a lot of local SMEs, the popularity of marketing video still hasn’t quite caught on for the local sector – or not as much as with larger companies.

    It can be seen as a lot of effort to organise and with unknown results – but working with professional – this fear is mostly unfounded.

    Online video has proven over and over again to have a good ROI and impact on your website presence.

    Even so, these fears exist – so it’s still relatively new and exciting for small businesses to produce and feature a video online.

    It doesn’t need to be long, just 1-2 minutes will do to show the world what you’re about and why a potential customer should pick you.

    And of course, it should be professionally made – as a poor quality video, in terms of looks or content, can actually be detrimental to your online credibility!

    There’s the obvious use – put it on your homepage, but a video is also a multi-purpose marketing tool.

    As well as the website there’s your social media channels (you can upload directly to Facebook), upload to Youtube (which also boosts your website), any exhibitions, client meetings and more.

    There’s also the possibility to get low-cost re-edits, to produce different versions you may require, from just 1 video shoot.

    In a local marketplace – video is still not being fully used to its fullest extent – so get on board and show your potential customers quickly and with style – why you’re the one for them.

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  • August 17, 2015

    A 2015 Guide to B2B Visual Content Marketing

    Throughout the buying cycle – B2B is getting more visual – no doubt. No longer is it down to just lengthy text-based proposals and text websites to win deals and get ahead in marketing.

    There’s been a shift in sharing and online, it’s no longer limited to B2C brands.

    Studies from last year – particularly an in-depth study from Demand Gen – have shown B2B buyers are sharing blog posts frequently, along with infographics and videos more and more.

    Peer referrals is still a very persuasive tool for marketers and are a high-value channel for B2B so this type of online content sharing fits perfectly – and amplifies their peer reach.

    Infographics

    Infographics are a simple and increasingly popular way for a researcher or buyer to access a lot of information quickly.

    In 2014, 39% of B2B buyers identified that they share infographics on social media frequently – so it’s obviously worth looking into.

    Basically, It’s an easy way to digest what could be complicated information – in a fun visual style.

    You can build and design these for free, but for that extra wow factor, there are plenty of companies who will do it for you – on basically any topic and any design.

    Video

    Video content has been continually on the rise for years – and this report from Demand Gen shows that during 2014 -2015 its popularity has not slowed down one bit – particularly for B2B – with an 8% increase last year.

    It’s the most effective way to show a consistent and easy to absorb message to a wide variety of people.

    It’s also so versatile – you can film, have animation, show news – anything. So customers needn’t spend ages reading long text pages on your site again – they can take in the information in, in a fun and memorable way.

    An animated explainer video is particularly helpful if your business is quite complex (as B2B often is!) As it’s the perfect medium for showing the abstract or complicated information in an engaging, rich way.

    Presentations

    Presentations give the users an interactive element online – so they are able to learn at their own pace. And like any good visual content – they’re very easy to embed on your site and share with others.

    Slideshare is a great example of this growth – it’s simply a presentation hosting and sharing site – but year on year it’s becoming more popular – with a 7% increase in usage last year.

    Producing a presentation is relatively simple if you start with a good design template and content, so amplifying your message and establishing credibility with a site like Slideshare is invaluable for B2B.

    White Papers

    White papers are still used by B2B buyers and specifiers to research topics before making a decision or even enquire.

    They are a great way of showing depth information on a particular subject, and really educating the audience, but incorporated within the great design, making it simple to read and absorb the knowledge.

    While they are text-heavy, they often use a combination of charts, text and images – to make the user experience really rich.

    So although they are more geared towards text – importance is going more and more on great design and graphics – which makes it much more readable and enjoyable.

    Images and Photos

    Simply using more still images will make an impact – to accompany blog posts or product pages.

    They don’t always need to be as complicated as an infographic, a photograph or illustration will still have an effect.

    Within a blog post, an image every 350 is considered most effective according to Quick Sprout.

    It breaks the text up and makes it easier to read in bite-size chunks – take in the info, see a nice relevant image, then back to reading.

    Simply, It makes your blog more readable.

    Summary

    As a B2B Marketer – you need to cover a wide range of platforms and content types – and harness all of these and reach as many customers as possible.

    It’s worth having a team member who has real design skills as well as business knowledge – or contracting out the work to a professional company.

    It’s definitely a bigger job than you think producing all of this original content.

    However, this work far outweighs the downside – leaving your business to text-only content only – you will soon be left behind.

    As always we welcome your comments – how do you plan to include and produce more visual content into your 2015 marketing strategy?

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